From my perspective, finding at least one person that you trust can be key for successful recovery. Let’s be honest, a mental health issue, when not treated can distort your perception of reality and easily affect your behavior and choices. And when this happens we need someone to speak into our situation to help us make the necessary corrections in the course of our mental health recovery.
For me, this person has been my wife. It took me a while to believe that she was truly on “my side”. It took me a while to truly trust that she had my best interest always in mind. I’m blessed and fortunate to have a spouse who understands and is trustworthy. I know this is not true for everyone who has a partner or is married who has a mental health challenge. And of course, if you are single it can be a challenge to find that one trustworthy friend.
But, I’m convinced having this “one person” in my life has enabled me to get past the “i” of illness. When I allowed my wife to begin to be a partner in my recovery, we moved to “we” and when you take the “i” off of illness and exchange it with “we”- you end up with wellness. And that is what I have experienced and continue to experience mental wellness.
Now we do not always agree. And when that happens she and I simply have an agreement that I bring it to the attention of my doctor either at my next appointment or if it is of such a more urgent nature that I will call him. This has happened maybe once or twice in the last twelve years. And the doctor confirmed her concern one time and the other times he has confirmed my point of view. Because sometimes her concerns are based more upon her fear of my relapsing than based upon actually bipolar issues. And she is well aware of that.
Now, this “one-person” needs to be:
- someone that you not only trust but someone that you feel completely safe with
- someone who believes in you
- someone who wants to see you succeed
- someone who believes that you can live well in spite of having bipolar disorder
- someone who will listen and understand you, but also challenge you to push through when it would be easier to give up
- someone who would be willing to go along with you to your doctor appointment from time to time
- someone who will hold you accountable; who can ask you the hard questions that are key for your recovery
- someone who access to your doctor and therapist
- someone who has a fairly good understanding of bipolar disorder but is willing to learn a lot more and become as informed about bipolar and your particular journey with bipolar disorder as possible
- someone who knows you and part of your daily life
- someone that you are willing to allow to “speak-into” your recovery
Do you have someone like this to take the “i” out of your illness and make it a “we”, moving to wellness? How do you find this person? Who might this person be in your life? I’d encourage you to find this person and bring them onto your team.